Howard Henry McDermott, Jr, 84

Published 9:52 am Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Howard Henry McDermott, Jr, 84, of Austin, Minnesota, died Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014, at Mayo Clinic Health Systems in Austin.



Howard, an only child, was born Sept., 24, 1929, in Austin to Howard and Helen (Hansen) McDermott. He grew up in Austin and graduated from Austin High School. In school, he was an accomplished musician and played first chair clarinet under the tutelage of band director Mr. Sperati. Howard served his country in the Navy from 1948 to 1952. He served as both a navigator and member of the Navy Band. He played for many official ceremonies including the inauguration of President Harry Truman. While stationed in Pearl Harbor, Howard met his future wife, Rita Lopez. They were married on March 2, 1951, in Honolulu, Hawaii. Howard and Rita returned to Minnesota and made their home in Austin, living in the same home, next to that of his parents, until the time of his death. Howard worked at the Hormel packing plant until his retirement in 1986. During this time, he continued playing with bands including Ray Stolzenberg, Henry Charles, and Bobby Thompson at area ballrooms. After his retirement, Howard and Rita spent summers at their lake home in Northome, Minnesota where he enjoyed hunting, fishing and “putzing” in the shed. Rita died on June 1, 2007. Howard was a member of Westminster Presbyterian Church. He enjoyed gardening, bee keeping, sharing stories and spoiling his dachshunds. He delighted in his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Survivors include his son, Rodney (Jean) McDermott, of Austin; daughter, Anita McDermott, of Apple Valley, Minnesota; son-in-law Gerard Judd, of Austin; six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

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He is proceeded in death by his parents; wife, Rita; daughter, Laura; granddaughter, Vanessa.

Funeral services will be held 11 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014, at Westminster Presbyterian Church with Rev. Michael Olmsted officiating. Friends may call from 5 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday at Mayer Funeral Home and also one hour before the service at the church on Thursday. Interment will be in Oakwood Cemetery with military rites by American Legion Post 91. Memorials may be made to Westminster Presbyterian Church.